For Kettering, in Northamptonshire, England, this railroad station and the rail lines that have served it have an important role in history and today. Kettering’s relative prosperity in the late 19th century was based on its leather and shoemaking industries; the railroad enabled its products to reach a wide market.
Congratulations to GarryRF, who patiently followed the clues and tracked down the site...and contributed two more views of the station!
In 1857, when this station was built for a new Midlands Railway connecting the town to London, half the working population was on “poor relief.” The railroad ‘s arrival turned that around. It still plays a similar role, because Kettering is an important central point for shipping and distribution, with companies such as Weetabix and Timsons basing their distribution there. Add the railroad’s ability to put commuters in London in under an hour and you can understand why Kettering has one of England’s lowest unemployment rates.
Kettering is not a big tourist stop, despite a number of interesting churches and other buildings (St. Peter and St. Paul shown above), but nearby, for stately-home visitors, is Boughton House, a magnificent estate that has extraordinary Baroque rooms and furnishings—largely untouched because the Dukes of Buccleuch, who inherited it from another noble family, seldom used it. It also includes an art collection including Goya and El Greco, and has been called "England's Versailles" for its French influence.
But Gumbo hardly noticed anything about this when he passed through in 1998; he was on the way to visit his wife’s English cousin a few miles away in Corby, which had lost its rail service a dozen years earlier. Today, Gumbo would notice even less—Corby got its rail service back in 2008, and demand is so great that an additional track is being built between Kettering and Corby this year. Sadly, Corby’s new station is nowhere near as picturesque!